Simon & Schuster, Jan 2002, 320 pp.
In October 1927 in Cincinnati, bootlegger George Remus kills his beloved spouse Imogene, known by all as THE JAZZ BIRD. Immediately following the homicide, George goes back to his specially modified Packard, but his misunderstood rambling leads his driver to take him back to his home in Eden Park. Afterward, a stupefied George grabs a cab and goes to the police station to turn himself in for killing his wife.
Prosecutor Charlie Taft is assigned the case of a lifetime. Already in the limelight due to the pedigree of his father, the only person to have served as president and Supreme Court chief justice, Charlie believes this case is his big break to the national game though the culprit copping a plea of insanity somewhat muddies the water. As Charlie begins to sift through the evidence and gain a complete picture of George and Imogene, he wonders whether the former's feelings of deep betrayal from a three-year-old incident led to a calculated homicide?
THE JAZZ BIRD is a legal thriller based on a real case. The engaging story line is exciting with the trial filled with twists and the key characters (Mr. and Mrs. Remus and Taft) quite fascinating as readers see beyond their public masks to the real person. Along with fans of legal thrillers, the historical fiction (the Jazz era comes vividly alive) audience will agree that Craig Holden has written a fabulous novel that requires time for a one sitting read.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner